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  • Writer's picturePaper Paladin

Getting Readers

For those of you who’ve been reading along, you will know my struggle with telling people about the writing journey.

Now, imagine that moment when I knew I had to get people to read what I’d written for this project to keep moving forward.

“Getting readers” means asking people to journey with you, being vulnerable enough to share what you’ve written with them, and being open to the feedback that they’ll provide.

Excruciating is the first word that comes to mind (even still) years after doing this because the first step in the dark is the scariest and, thus, the hardest.

Life-giving is the second word because all that fear was a waste of energy (as it usually is). I got the feedback that I so needed.

So, how did I do it?

Well, I first imagined what kind of feedback I needed. I needed to know what worked and didn’t, what was easy to read and hooked people to keep reading, and what might be offensive or insensitive. This is where my engineering side poked in, and I created a spreadsheet and comment sheet for each of my readers.

Second, I needed readers who would give me that feedback. I needed people of character who I could trust with my vulnerable work and those who wouldn’t be afraid to tell me the truth. I wanted to know those parts that didn’t work, came through as insensitive, and needed to be changed. I also wanted varied perspectives: a leader in the church who might find this information helpful to their job, someone close to me who had already walked the infertility journey, and someone outside of my faith community.

Third, I made a shortlist of people in my life who fit the intersection of those traits. Then, I started writing a draft email using some tips I mentioned in the last post from David Comfort’s An Insider's Guide to Publishing.

The sending of emails was the hardest. And let me tell you, again, I was thankful that I had read David’s section on rejection. Furthermore, none of the people who said “No” to being readers was personally rejecting me. They were in different seasons of life, and I knew God was leading who I needed to be as a reader.

After confirming my team of readers, I printed hard-copy versions of the manuscript. I put each one in a binder along with the comment sheets.

That was a surreal day for me: sitting in the sunshine, placing a bundle of paper in my printer, pressing “print", hole-punching, and assembling it all.

In the next post, I'll share what feedback I received and what that experience was like.

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